It's located four miles northeast of Old Bagan at the edge of the most important regional town of Nyaung-U. Shwezigon Pagoda is a solid, cylindrical structure resting on three square terraces and a prototype of later stupas all over Myanmar.
It has a bold, waistband around the bell-shaped dome, and a series of concentric mouldings, with finial rises near the top and crowned with an umbrella. It is one of the 55 encased pagodas in Bagan. According to tradition, the inner one was built by King Anawrahta and covered with the stone bricks hewn out of the Tuyin Taung quarries by King Kyanzittha. There are several plaques adorning its terraces.
All four sides of the pagoda have a central stairway, which are guarded by Makaras (sea creatures from Hindu mythology), leading to the top of the terraces. The three terraces contain beautiful glazed terra-cotta plaques depicting the 550 Jataka tales, the stories about the previous lives of Buddha.
On each of the four sides of the pagoda is a small temple which enshrines a standing Buddha. On either side of the east approach to the pagoda is a square stone pillar with Mon inscriptions on all four sides.